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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« More On the Postdoc Situation | Main | Public Outreach »

March 9, 2011

What A Fool Believes

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Posted by Derek

What's going on over at Slate, anyway? So far this week we've been talking about that Timothy Noah article over there publicizing the bizarre Light and Warburton estimate for drug development. Now one of their house blogs erupts with a geyser of idiocy about the looming patent cliff in the industry:

So this sudden terrible problem has been obvious and on schedule for at least 10 years.

It honestly is that simple and that stupid. The pharmaceutical industry turned all its energy toward wringing as much money as possible out of the drugs it already had, and quit making any sort of plans that would lead to having a new (and, you know: medically useful) batch of drugs under patent in the future, when the patents on the old batch expired.

Now the pharmaceutical companies are laying off tens of thousands of workers because they are worried about their financial future, because although they are officially in the business of producing and selling drugs, they stopped producing drugs.

It goes on in that vein; in fact, it gets even more stupid. And the point isn't that someone wrote something like this, so much as that this reflects, I fear, what a lot of other people think. Writing this blog has exposed me to a lot of smart, interesting people, which is something I really enjoy. But it's also exposed me to a lot of troglodytes who have no idea of what they're talking about. And here we have another one. Unfortunately, if enough people believe something idiotic, those beliefs can have consequences.

Now, we can argue about pharma strategy, which we do all the time around here. Where to spend the time and money, which programs to push and which to walk away from - everyone's got their own opinions. But if the line you're pushing is that drug companies just haven't been doing any research at all for the last ten or twenty years. . .well, then you're a moron. On the evidence of this column, Slate's Tom Scocca is one, at best, and his piece is a waste of electrons.

For one thing, there actually have been a few drugs introduced over the last ten years or so. Not as many as we'd like, or as many as we were planning on, but still. And then there are the failures. I mean, I say a lot of nasty things about Pfizer here, for example, but we can list off the big drug projects that they've had die on them over the last few years. Same for Merck, for Novartis, for BMS and AZ and for everyone else.

Honestly, I really think that we should make a bigger deal out of clinical failures in this industry, so that people realize that (1) we're always trying to do something, (2) it doesn't always work, and (3) it costs a godawful amount of money. As it is now, no one outside of the industry really notices or remembers when the giant multi-year research programs go down in expensive flames. And that leaves the door open for knuckle-dragging stuff as quoted above, and for the fools who believe it.

Comments (70) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets | Press Coverage


COMMENTS

1. BariTony on March 9, 2011 9:34 AM writes...

Derek,

Honestly, I don't know how you put up with it all. I've gotten so tired of this sort of thing I don't even bother arguing with people anymore.

I have noticed one curious dichotomy, though. I've met people who bash the heck out of the 'evil pharma companies', but when they ask what I do and I politely tell them that I'm a researcher in the pharma industry, they're actually quite nice to me and full of questions about what I do and seem genuinly interested. Maybe it's human nature, but these sorts of troglogytes seem to despise particular groups of people, while at the same time being able to like the individuals who are part of that group.

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2. exMRK on March 9, 2011 9:37 AM writes...

It honestly is that simple and that stupid. The pharmaceutical industry turned all its energy toward wringing as much money as possible out of the drugs it already had, and quit making any sort of plans that would lead to having a new (and, you know: medically useful) batch of drugs under patent in the future, when the patents on the old batch expired.

While that might be overstated, I don't think, for example, that MRL's denying scientist access to SciFinder and other discovery computing tools to save a few $million per annum fits into the general picture of being a "research driven" company.

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3. Rick on March 9, 2011 9:44 AM writes...

I posted this elsewhere on the ITP blog, but I thought it was so darned brilliant ;-) that I'd re-post it here:

I've read the Light and Warburton paper and followed this blog and the comments on Slate as well, including Warburton's and Light's contributions. I've also read all the DiMasi et al papers. But I'm STILL waiting for an unbiased analysis!

The choice of words and references in the Light and Warburton paper is poor enough (i.e. unprofessionaly inflammatory and woefully incomplete, respectively), that it naturally calls into question the motivation of the authors, the quality of their work AND the standards of the journal that accepted the manuscript as (apparently) an article rather than an opinion piece. Any valid points the piece has(and I believe there are some) are pre-emptively undermined by the decidedly oppositional tone adopted from the very outset of the article (i.e. the wording of the title).

There are a number of other academic economists who have raised, in mercifully UNheated and objective scholarly articles, serious and legitimate criticism of the TCSDD methodologies, especially the way they use cost of capital and their choice of corrections for inflation. In particular, Boston University School of Management's Iain Cockburn and Harvard Business School's Gary Pisano have written articles that warrant legitimate and appropriately skeptical scrutiny of PhRMA/TCSDD publications (and, in my opinion, the Light and Warburton paper also, since it appears to be based on the TCSDD findings).

Altogether these studies convince me of one thing: we have not yet seen a well-reasoned, unbiased, economically sound figure for the mean or median cost to develop any drug (new, me-too, reformulated, recombined or even placebo). What I'm seeing now is a lot of heat but no light (no pun intended). My opinion, based on the sum total of what I've read from a wide range of sources, is that the most useful number lies (at most) roughly midway between the TCSDD and Light/Warburton extremes.

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4. johnnyboy on March 9, 2011 9:47 AM writes...

"...I politely tell them that I'm a researcher in the pharma industry, they're actually quite nice to me and full of questions about what I do and seem genuinly interested. "

Well, it's always easy to bash a big faceless institution when you see it as an abstract concept, like Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Government, etc... When the bashers are suddenly faced with the realization that these institutions are actually made up of well-meaning people trying to do the right thing, it can open their eyes. Which is why I would urge you to keep talking, so that minds can be changed, one little bit at a time. But I know it's difficult; it certainly infuriates me when I get lectured about all the terrible things done by the pharma industry by some clueless concerned citizen who's read one article (or blog) somewhere.

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5. Rick on March 9, 2011 10:04 AM writes...

I'm with exMRK, let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Unless we've been in a far remote outpost, most us who have worked in the pharma or biotech industry anytime over the past two decades probably know that it has been deeply concerned about productivity and the "patent cliff" that entire time. Pharma and biotech companies have been trying, and, it seems, failing, to invest in strategies that would avert the problems we now see before us. That is arguably a prime reason for the boom in biotech investment in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Some of the decisions, like those involving purchase of chemistry databases, may have been financially sound in the short run but foolish by scientific and long-term value standards.

Let's face it, Slate, like any other online or paper news periodical, has an editorial position that's not hard to detect even if you don't try very hard. But that does not necessarily mean there is no truth behind their difficult-to-take words. You just have to hold your nose, wade through the bullshit and try to find the worthwhile stuff. Let's talk about that.

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6. Anonymous on March 9, 2011 10:06 AM writes...

"Honestly, I really think that we should make a bigger deal out of clinical failures in this industry, so that people realize that (1) we're always trying to do something, (2) it doesn't always work, and (3) it costs a godawful amount of money"

Never going to happen. It would require someone to stand up and be accountable. All today's senior management want to be accountable for is their golf handicap and future pension. And anyway Derek, mindless hacks like Scocca wouldn't touch a real complex story like a big Phase III failure with a sh*tty stick. Far too much research and hard work required

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7. Kevin on March 9, 2011 10:18 AM writes...

There is also a distinct bias in a lot of media, new and old, against the idea of business for profit. I have some guesses where it comes from but the idea that someone has to make money to run a business seems to be offensive to a parts of media, academia, etc. I work in a company supplying instruments to the pharmaceutical and other industries and we get it too, normally from academia ("You want me to pay for the instrument? You should just give it to me.")

Trying to explain costs of development, overhead, etc and then still having to make a profit for the owners, which may include their pension fund or mutual fund in a 401K doesn't really seem to work. I'm kind of resigned to just being an evil capitalist.

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8. PharmaHeretic on March 9, 2011 10:57 AM writes...

Derek,

I hate to say this but- pharma management did not correct themselves or learn from their mistakes. They simply replaced one set of mistakes (HTS, genomics) with another type (licensing dubious drugs, outsourcing).

The real issues are short-term thinking, sociopathic greed and anti-intellectualism. To an external observer, the promotion of drugs like vioxx, zyprexa and a host of other hyped/scam drugs looks like short-sighted greed. So.. yes, most people would agree with the slate.com position and face it- scientists went along with the shit and still defend pharma management in public phora.

Most people therefore rightly see scientists as analogous to ordinary ww2 era germans who did not speak out against nazism (though that would have got them killed or imprisoned).

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9. HelicalZz on March 9, 2011 10:57 AM writes...

Funny, when I think of an industry that, once faced with the loss of its historical revenue stream, suddenly stopped 'trying very hard', the one that first comes to mind is ... journalism.

Zz

[And yeah that is entirely unfair - but perhaps deserved in this case]

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10. milkshake on March 9, 2011 11:05 AM writes...

most people on the outside do not realize that pharma industry entered the "not even evil" phase of empire decay - the stage when the elites of do not know how to act in the interest of the empire survival. That there are built-in reward mechanisms that encourage staggering bureaucracy, incompetency and suicidal foolishness done on grand scale.

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11. Hap on March 9, 2011 11:19 AM writes...

It seems like pharma management believes that they don't need new drugs, though they were trying to do so earlier - the R+D cuts have indicated that managment doesn't think they can develop drugs, so they're hoping that someone else will find them and then hand the money over to big pharma management. Sure.

I wouldn't think that criticizing newspapers for not doing better when faced with TV and the internet is unfair - they were, after all, the ones that figured that raising prices, cutting content, and not doing investigative journalism but trumpeting their politics would keep the cash flowing. At least pharma realizes that new drugs rather than less drugs is what they need, even if it doesn't seem to have a good idea how to do it.

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12. Anon on March 9, 2011 11:41 AM writes...

#3 Rick

The choice of words and references in the Light and Warburton paper is poor enough (i.e. unprofessionaly inflammatory and woefully incomplete, respectively), that it naturally calls into question the motivation of the authors

Beware when you raise what are essentially ad hominem issues. Ad hominem arguments are logically fallacious; just because someone's writings are "inflammatory" or (in someeone's judgment) "incomplete" does not imply that what they are writing is false.

Scientists should know that.

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13. CMCguy on March 9, 2011 11:46 AM writes...

I am not sure how or if we can fight the dominate misconceptions that are out there about drug development. To a degree I do see that Pharma/Biotech has become in past decades more motivated by profits and not science which has shifted to a short-term mindset (as with whole culture since 80s/90s). On the other hand there is no question that companies have been aware of approaching Patent Cliffs (all do analyis even before going commercial) and as Derek points out there are few successes and numerous failure. I see faults in approaches that sought only Blockbuster replacements, narrowing the fields of research based assumptions on what would lead to a new huge commercial product (a different case of what fools believe). Likewise pushes new "technologies" to make discovery faster and cheaper have been bountiful but largely diversions of resources. And as we often lament M&A have appeared more counter productive to innovation.

I do see scientist share part of the "blame" for decline, or mainly those who advanced to management positions and then did not provide counter balances to moves away from science focus or grabbed on to quick and easy fixes. However to characterize as ww2 ordinary germans per #8 is hyperbolic. I think most scientist become overly focused on their own areas and do not learn or get involved in larger organizational aspects so the might have influence.

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14. anon on March 9, 2011 11:49 AM writes...

#7 Kevin

I have some guesses where it comes from but the idea that someone has to make money to run a business seems to be offensive to a parts of media, academia, etc.

So the VP Research Computing at MRL used to complain about the 'high cost' of the medical journals and databases from companies like Elsevier, Dialog and other aggregators.

Stunning.

Teapot calling kettle black.


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15. Rhenium on March 9, 2011 11:51 AM writes...

Milkshake....

"not even evil" phase of empire decay

Interesting phrase, do you know where it comes from?

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16. pete on March 9, 2011 11:56 AM writes...

If there are too many PhDs toiling for too few decent positions, then there are definitely too many writers generating "content" that could best be described as profound-brown-rounds.

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17. Anon on March 9, 2011 11:57 AM writes...

Milkshake
most people on the outside do not realize that pharma industry entered the "not even evil" phase of empire decay - the stage when the elites of do not know how to act in the interest of the empire survival. That there are built-in reward mechanisms that encourage staggering bureaucracy, incompetency and suicidal foolishness done on grand scale.

You have it nailed.

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18. Rick on March 9, 2011 12:12 PM writes...

@ 12 - anon:

It's hardly ad hominem to raise issues that any responsible peer reviewer should raise concerning the objectivity and completeness of a manuscript's conclusions and references. I'll grant you that there's some subjectivity involved, but there's a great gulf between the partially subjective standard to which an experienced peer reviewer (as I am, in addition to being a scientist) might admit and ad hominem attacks. If we can't distinguish the two, it undermines our ability to debate and reasonably disagree.

If you read my comment more carefully, you will note that I do not simplistically label the article as "true" or "false" as you suggest. Moreover, I suggest that it has some valid points. What I ask for is unbiased analysis and I even offer some additional sources for it.

To quote your closing line: "Scientists should know that."

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19. JasonP on March 9, 2011 12:13 PM writes...

"Unfortunately, if enough people believe something idiotic, those beliefs can have consequences."

HEY! This is why I keep posting about reopening the book on Nativis. We cannot allow bogus science to influence people's perceptions because it is bad for all of us.

You said you would talk about Nativis again when they claimed to release patants in a few months. It's been a half year or more now and I still see that company in my town, so GET TO IT!

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20. bbooooooya on March 9, 2011 12:24 PM writes...

The Slate piece may be a little inflammatory, but does it miss the mark by that much?

I know myself very smart people in pharma, but they tend not to be the ones making the decisions.

To be sure, drug discovery is tough, and the pharma companies have produced some drugs with real benefits. But, if big pharms were so concerned with R&D, why have marketing budgets been skyrocketing over the past decade? Seems to me a pretty good example of " wringing as much money as possible out of the drugs it already had".

Look at where drug companies are putting their efforts: drugs to give old guys boners (maybe useful, but important?), drugs to lower cholesterol in a country full of lard asses, drugs to treat indigestion (GERD!, even optically pure follow ons), drugs to treat depression (yes, it's a real disease but see recent NYTimes article abt current psychiatric practice), drugs to treat resless leg syndrome.

It's not as though discovering new drugs has become any tougher in the past decade: it's always been hard, and it always will be, it's why drug companies can extract such remarkable profit margins when a drug does get to market.

In business, like in sports or academia, no one gives you a prize for trying hard.

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21. Robert Bruce Thompson on March 9, 2011 12:25 PM writes...

>> Maybe it's human nature, but these sorts of troglogytes seem to despise particular groups of people, while at the same time being able to like the individuals who are part of that group.

Well, speaking as a troglodyte, I despise liberals and conservatives as a matter of principle, but I get along quite well with many individual liberals and conservatives.

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22. Anon on March 9, 2011 12:54 PM writes...

18 Rick

The choice of words ... is poor enough (i.e. unprofessionaly inflammatory .. calls into question the author's motivations...any valid points the piece has(and I believe there are some) are pre-emptively undermined by the decidedly oppositional tone adopted from the very outset of the article (i.e. the wording of the title).

Nowhere do I see you debate their arguments on the merits.

My Ad hominem comment stands.

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23. MoMo on March 9, 2011 1:26 PM writes...

It isn't that Big Pharma hasn't tried to bring new drugs to market, but that discovery teams are now staffed with homogeneous and vapid scientists afraid or unwilling to break from the groupthink and herd mentality. They are afraid of confrontation, controversy and are today dealing with the status quo to pick up the biggest paychecks around.

Then there are the mavericks who surface once in while with a novel and innovative idea, start a company in the small Pharma world, only to be traumatized by their interactions with Big Pharma.

But it is the crazy-irreverent scientists that have the most to offer, and they usually don't fit into the Big Pharma mold, making it on their own while you all search the internet for answers from smug academics and people who refrain from getting their hands dirty.

And we laugh all the way to the bank, while academics publish meaningless papers on Pharmaco-economics, Pharma flounders with science-pussies afraid to innovate, while shareholders groan and moan while their leaders cash in.

It has always been this way, but with the internet just more apparent.

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24. Rick on March 9, 2011 1:34 PM writes...

@22-Anon,
I offered the names of respected researchers who have published many well researched and widely cited articles that tackle these issues precisely on their merits in my post. If you read them, you will find observations far more thoughtful and detailed than a blog post for treating both sides of this debate with grains of salt. I have also offered my bottom line based on my reading of those articles. I recommend them to you too.

On the other hand, if you prefer the ad hominem attack line of discussion, rather than digging a little deeper into the literature, I'll leave you with the old saying "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

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25. daen on March 9, 2011 1:45 PM writes...

@22: Let's address some of the subjective and ignorant comments in the paper.

Consider the title:

"Demythologizing the high costs of pharmaceutical research"

It is value-laden. It takes as given that the industry figures are false or misleading. It assumes an outcome already. It is obvious from the paper's outset that the authors have an agenda. Were the paper to be truly objective, "Deconstructing" or "Investigating" or "Producing an alternative framework for" would have achieved the same impact without the implicit value judgement.

"Industry executives, well supplied with facts and figures by the industry’s global press network, awe audiences with staggering figures for the cost of a single trial, like tribal chieftains and their scribes who recount the mythic costs of a great victory in a remote pass where no outside witnesses saw the battle."

Inflammatory rhetoric.

"companies are so generously rewarded for developing hundreds of new products little better than the ones they replace. Policy needs to move away from decontextualized magic bullets ..."

Unsupported generalization.

"... it is puzzling that more than half of those invited did not participate ..."

Implication of malign intent posing as innocent speculation.

Use of numerous uncritical quotes from Goozner and Angell imply a serious lack of understanding of the real-world challenges of drug discovery, including obvious lack of comprehension of the differences between target discovery, elucidation of mechanism of action, hit screening and lead compound development.

"the costs of R(research) are unknown and highly variable."

One would imagine that two highly-published health economists would know a little about developing financial models under conditions of uncertainty, but it appears that the best that they can do is to throw their hands in the air and admit defeat.

This is itself either an admission that pharma research costs really *are* that hard to find out, or it is a methodological failing in their paper. Either way, it renders any subsequent figure meaningless by way of comparison with the DiMasi paper.

It is also disingenuous of Light and Warburton to claim that the highlight of their paper, the median figure of $59 mn, is for "only the “D� in R&D" [Warburton response in the Slate article comments section] when their paper refers to "R&D" nearly 100 times, to "research" or its cognate around 40 times and to "development" less than 20 times.

Light's own commentary on Slate contains the interesting non-sequitur (after a half-hearted attempt at defending the paper which I won't quote here):

"The real problem is not the cost of R&D but the strong incentives for companies to focus on developing many new drugs judged little better than existing ones which they can market to physicians and patients. These drugs, however, have harmful side effects with little offsetting advantages. Prescription drugs are now the 4th leading cause of death. The epidemic of 46 million harmful side effects is described in THE RISKS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (Columbia Univ Press 2010 $15)."

Yes, go and buy his book.

All very professional with no obvious agenda.

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26. TJM on March 9, 2011 1:48 PM writes...

Scocca’s points again reflect what I commented on yesterday. Journalism, and even our society has locked into a mindset that mandates extreme polarization on any issue. Objective analysis and commentary of the kind that Rick wishes for are now the smallest percentage of “shared knowledge” since before the Renaissance. We cannot seem to get any attention unless we are screaming distortions of the truth. How can we change that?

Relative to the whipping boy status of Pharma – these is a rehash of issues since the 1960’s, when the industry opted out of Medicare legislation. Therefore millions of citizens only saw drugs as having a direct impact to their wallet. The other 80-90% of heathcare costs that consumers pay is indirect. That made Pharma-bashing an embedded theme in US society. Maybe that attitude will be unchangeable for generations after the industry crashes & burns. Maybe that is why PHRMa leaders see changing that attitude as a unmoveable money-pit. I know that most individual science peers I have known over the decades have altruistic, deep concerns for helping people, families and society. Their efforts just cannot move that attitude needle, especially when “journalists” abandoned objectivity in the 1980’s and especially with our current red/blue polarization culture.

#20 bya: The industry profitability has dropped in the past 10-15 years from about 17% to 9% (or so.) If they were not trying to get as much value out of their existing products, that profitability would be even lower, with more R&D sites shuttered and more of prospective healthcare advances being left to governments. Not sure how much more effective they would be in solving unmet needs like Parkinson’s, multi-therapy anticancers, etc. As I used to tell folks years ago, when told that Pharma was too profitable: “Since something has to be the most profitable, what industry do you think that should be? Televisions? Autos? Oil? Weapon systems?” Lifestyle drugs are a VERY small percentage of focus, and your comment implying anti-cholesterol drugs are of little value is either intentionally provocative or just naive.

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27. Drug Developer on March 9, 2011 1:53 PM writes...

Could anyone go on to clinicaltrials.gov, search for "Open Studies", "Industry-Sponsored", pick a disease state, and NOT marvel at the sheer volume of global drug development going on? Go ahead -- open up an individual study and get a hint of the complexity.

All without getting off your duff, which should be appealing to many who call themselves journalists these days.

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28. Barry on March 9, 2011 2:01 PM writes...

I note that the Slate piece talks about failings of business, not failings of science. I have seen failings of science in Pharma (e.g. do we go with the compound with the 10hr half-life or the one with the 10-day half-life?) but they pale to insignificance against the last decade of bad business decisions. Now there are thousands of researchers idled. It's not so clear to me that Scocca is the idiot.

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29. Fake Name on March 9, 2011 2:04 PM writes...

@14:

So the VP Research Computing at MRL used to complain about the 'high cost' of the medical journals and databases from companies like Elsevier, Dialog and other aggregators.

Something that I have never understood. How the heck can scientific publishing companies charge extortionate amounts of money for research paid for by tax money? And lets not forget, MRL pays taxes too. If there is one thing compulsory licensing is good for, it is for free dissemination of scientific papers funded by the public.

@18:

So if my paper disagrees with another lab's results, can I call them f***ing morons, as long as I publish my data? Do you know of any journal which will let me publish that?

@7, Kevin:

You nailed it. What ticks me off even more is that their salaries are paid for by the extortionate college tuition, inflation in which has been outpacing the economy by multiples. These academicians and their partisans keep talking about Big Pharma, but not a peep from them regarding "Big University".

@23 MoMo:

And the NIH is a hotbed of funding maverick scientists.

@20 bbooooooya:

And what is wrong with drugs to treat ED? Have you had ED? If you did, was your partner happy with you having ED?

I fail to see why drugs treating ED are treated in such a derisory fashion when it is an obvious quality of life issue. Are you against women receiving breast reconstruction surgery for breast cancer survivors? Do you think people don't need to have sex and can be perfectly happy without it? Your argument is no different from the Pope's argument against contraception and abortion.

And as for dugs against indigestion and cholesterol, why don't you blame the consumers for buying them? If consumers stop buying "boner", cholesterol and indigestion drugs then the companies will stop making and selling them.

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30. milkshake on March 9, 2011 2:10 PM writes...

@15: The "not even evil" comes from "not even wrong" (a famous put-down from Pauli). I thought of British Empire, post-WWI and Soviet Bloc in 80s, as a close analogy to what is happening with large pharma companies.

When I worked for Celera, the management completely misled and used the scientists (that they needed to save the research site) only to make them work harder, and as soon as the projects got completed to a clinical candidate stage at which point the projects could be sold, the company closed the site and fired everyone. The company did it in a exceptionally nasty way, it cheated the employees of their severance too (and sure enough, no-one sued). I did not like it, but this bare-knuckle behavior made a business sense.

Before Celera, I was Pfizered. Looking back, what Pfizer has been doing makes no business sense whatsoever, it only served the top management and it burned a good pile of investors money.

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31. Rick on March 9, 2011 2:26 PM writes...

@ 29 (Fake Name)

"So if my paper disagrees with another lab's results, can I call them f***ing morons, as long as I publish my data? Do you know of any journal which will let me publish that?"

Perhaps I'm missing your point, or your sense of humor, but I don't see we have any disagreement. Of course, you can call competing researchers whatever kind of dim-bulbs/morons/cretins you want in your lab, at lunch, at conferences, etc. when they publish stuff you disagree with. (Indeed, who hasn't said that many times, myself included.) I am most certainly NOT saying you can't. However, if you write it like that in a manuscript for publication, it has no chance of geting past my editorial red pen, nor that of any other reputable journal I know of (unless it's on the psychology of swearing).

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32. Fake Name on March 9, 2011 2:42 PM writes...

@31 Rick:

My Bad. My response (that portion) was aimed at "@22 Anon". I do actually agree with you, that tone of a paper is also important (obviously not as important as data). My guess for Light & Warburton's use of inflammatory language was for their paper to get traction, not amongst other academicians and serious researchers but, but people like Timothy Noah and publications such as Slate. Given that I think it is an obvious question, that why did they need to "sex-up" their data? Reminds me of Colin Powell's presentation at the Security Council, replete with satellite and intelligence data.

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33. MoMo on March 9, 2011 2:48 PM writes...

Fake Name,

Don't worry-the journals are next in line for a well-deserved beating. Especially since they have been capitalizing on the frail egos of scientists for years. Review journals especially, and I emphasize those for-profits run by cheesy foreigners from Pakistan.

Most of the recent scientific fronts in the past 2 decades in Pharma are crap anyway, including your ED idiom. Combi-chem, DOS, iRNA, anything with omics- attached to it-all need to go away and soon.

Pharma has obfuscated real innovation with Henry Ford-McDonald's buger-line ideas that show the smart ones science can't be rushed.

Any moron in science knows this by now. Now the shareholders?....

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34. daen on March 9, 2011 2:55 PM writes...

@33: McDonald's bugger-line? Is this a new service they're offering? [Insert jokes about pickles and buns here].

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35. Fake Name on March 9, 2011 3:03 PM writes...

@33 MoMo:

And how exactly is the ED idiom crap?

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36. MoMo on March 9, 2011 3:05 PM writes...

daen,

Insert the R or keep it as is-It's the scientist that gets the shaft from lazy-let's-industrialize-and Henry-Fordize-Pharma-science managers.

It is at the core of the inability of Pharma to innovate.

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37. MoMo on March 9, 2011 3:15 PM writes...

Fake Name,

You must derive your existence from ED in some way to back up a serendipidous finding with such zeal, which makes you part of the problem in the Pharma industry.

No one is debating your goal of bringing women to orgasms or causing over-population and crim